Grant Rice believes developer influence on council is the first thing that needs to be addressed at city hall.
The 25-year resident of St. Helen’s Park in North Surrey points to the recent Grandview Four Neighbourhood Concept Plan (NCP) as an example of how things have gotten out of hand.
The large parcel of property south of 32 Avenue and east of 176 Street was subject to a public process. However that process was packed with developers who had options on properties in the area and had a huge financial stake in the outcome of council’s decision.
“It’s not the community that’s driving the process of the NCP,” Rice said. “That has to change.”
There has to be better engagement of the community, not the development community.
“Despite what they say, their decisions can be influenced by these large developers,” Rice said.
Rice said he would ask the province to place donation limits to political groups.
He believes no donations should be accepted from corporations or unions. And donations from members of the public should be limited to $100.
“What would happen then is you would have independent candidates running on a level footing,” Rice said.
His second most important issue is electoral reform by way of a ward system.
He would carve the city up along federal ridings (soon to be five), and have two candidates running per geographic area.
The mayor would be elected at large.
It would effectively increase the size of city council from nine to 11.
As a third issue, Rice wants to focus on climate change and food security.
“This is one of my passions,” Rice said. Surrey has made advances by reducing its own carbon footprint, he said, but the city is an “enabler” of others who haven’t.
He believes Surrey should be standing up to opposed Kinder Morgan pipeline and the coal terminal at Fraser Surrey Docks.
“Those are two of the things I think are really important,” he said.